Improved Thunder spark title talk from Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Kevin Durant came into the season uttering words no one thought possible for the Oklahoma City Thunder: the playoffs.

Having accomplished that outlandish goal, he's trotting out a new one: the championship.

Durant tested out his favorite new phrase on Saturday after the Thunder were eliminated from their first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers that ended only when Pau Gasol came up with a last-second tip-in that allowed the defending NBA champions to advance.

But the competitive series served only to instill more confidence in a young Oklahoma City squad that improved its win total from 23 games last season to 50 this season.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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